Awardees of the 14th Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA) were recently feted in their hometowns, as the program hosts Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Citi Philippines and the Microfinance Council of the Philippines (MCPI) campaigned to celebrate their pioneering work through community town halls.
In these engaging town halls, the eight winners from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao were joined by their family members, friends and co-members from their respective microfinance institutions.For Luzon Regional Awardee Richel Vargas, her town hall became a venue to inspire others to take the path of entrepreneurship. The tailor-turned- producer and vendor of accessories for bicycle and motorcycle riders brought a message of hope, perseverance, and encouragement to her employees, relatives, neighbors and friends in Antipolo City, Rizal.
First Macro Bank, the microcredit institution that provided Vargas with her much needed seed capital, was represented by president Reginald Ocampo. In his brief remarks, he encouraged the others present to try their hand in business as well, citing Vargas’ story as one that is worth emulating.
Aneth Lim, Citi Philippines Director for Public Affairs and Corporate Citizenship, joined the community celebration for Richel and encouraged her friends and family who were present to continue supporting her. “Richel was honored along with 7 other awardees in a big celebration last December. But we came here today because this celebration is for you – to toast Richel’s success and showcase how microfinance can be your partner in setting up or growing a successful and award-winning micro business.”
Lim added: “This is our 14th year of honoring micro economic heroes around the country, and these intimate town halls are our way of bringing inspiration to communities to show them that they can be our next awardees.”
When it was Vargas’ turn to present her remarks, the hardworking mother spoke of the importance of staying true to oneself, and the priceless value of staying humble. “Lakasan niyo ang loob niyo kasi marami kayong dadaanang pagsubok. Maging honest kayo at matutong makisama sa iba (Be brave for you are bound to encounter many challenges. Always practice honesty and learn to be a team player),” she relayed, drawing applause and cheer from everyone present.
Belen Torrecampo, Vargas’ neighbor, lauded her as one who is truly “hardworking and encouraging.” She mentioned that Vargas’ drive has pushed other community members to be entrepreneurs themselves.
CMA 2016 National Winner Honie Krizia Navor of HK Stone Craft Trading was also celebrated in a town hall held in Iloilo City. Navor began her entrepreneurial career with only P1,000 as a fledgling tombstone maker, which she has since grown and expanded into a full-blown stone and tile distribution business.
The CMA town halls were held from January to March and also feted Regional Awardee for Visayas Angelita Dagoc of Ferangeli Guitar Handcrafter in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu; Regional Awardee for Mindanao Marcelina Occeña of Soup Wonder Herbal Oil in Compostela Valley; Youth Microentrepreneur of the Year Kevin Pacatang, a tablea and coffee trader in Misamis Occidental; Special Awardee for Green/Sustainable Business Manuel Iwayan, a tire upcycler in San Carlos City, Negros; Special Awardee for Agri Micro-business Renato Mercado, an organic farming trader and advocate in Tanauan City, Batangas; and Special Awardee for Community Leadership Wilberto Dagame of Willmar Homemade Candies in Lipa City, Batangas.
MCPI Executive Director Allan Robert Sicat who attended the town halls for Navor and Occena said: “The CMA program continues to highlight the positive contribution of microfinance to the development of a more inclusive financial system responsive to the distinct needs of poor and low-income households. Reporting of these stories of successthroughtownhallcelebrations will inspire fellow microfinance clients to strive for similar success that ultimately strengthens and transforms communities.”
The CMA is a yearly collaboration between the BSP, MCPI and Citi Philippines. Funded by the Citi Foundation, the CMA gives recognition to outstanding microfinance clients who have used microfinance and entrepreneurship to improve their lives as well as their communities. Since 2002, the CMA has awarded some 120 Filipino men and women, highlighting their significant contribution to uplifting microfinance and enterprise development in the country.